U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris has introduced legislation to make high-quality training, education and supportive services more accessible for workers.
The 21st Century Skills are Key to Individuals’ Life-Long Success (SKILLS) Act, introduced Wednesday, would establish accounts for American workers to access skills training and other educational opportunities, as well as pay associated costs such as child care and transportation.
Up to 78 million Americans would be eligible for $8,000 if they are unemployed, dislocated, or employed and earning under 50 percent of state median income; $6,000 if they are employed and earning 50 percent to 75 percent of state median income; and $4,000 if they are employed and earning 75 percent to 100 percent of state median income.
The legislation also would increase transparency and accountability in the workforce development system to ensure workers maintain access to high-quality, high-value training opportunities by:
· Requiring states to set minimum levels of performance for training providers to remain eligible for training account funds.
· Creating tools to compare employment outcome data across programs, providers, and states.
· Establishing a grant program to encourage employers, education and training providers, labor, local workforce boards and community-based organizations to collaborate to identify a community’s needs and align training and education opportunities with local employment demand.
“Today’s economy is rapidly changing and will require many workers to build on their existing skills or obtain new skills throughout the course of their careers,” Harris said. “It is critical that Congress and employers recognize the importance of workforce development in order for our country to remain competitive in the global economy.”